Zimbabwean Writer to Stand Trial for Protests

Zimbabwean writer and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga will appear in court today. In 2020, Dangarembga was accused of inciting violence during

Zimbabwean Writer to Stand Trial for Protests

Author Tsitsi Dangarembga protesting against government inaction | Photo: The DW

Zimbabwean writer and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga will appear in court today.

In 2020, Dangarembga was accused of inciting violence during protests held against the government. Dangarembga will state her case before an anti-corruption court in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. The court reports directly to President Emmerson Mnangagwa. If convicted, she will face several years in prison.

Following the overthrow of former President Robert Mugabe in 2017, Mnangagwa seized power. So far, President Mnangagwa has been unable to provide solutions to issues such as high unemployment, corruption, and indebtedness. Lending rates in the country are the highest in the world at 200 percent.

Dangarembga’s conviction or acquittal will have significant consequences for Zimbabwe’s upcoming elections. In the case that Dangarembga is acquitted, she will play a crucial role in next year’s elections, speaking out against the dominant ZANU PF party. In the more likely case that Dangarembga faces jail time, expect backlash from citizens who are frustrated with political repression. In both cases, the new Coalition for Change (CCC) may capitalize on frustrations with ZANU PF and mount a strong electoral campaign. A victory by CCC is ultimately unlikely as ZANU PF controls the Electoral Commission, but strong support may indicate Zimbabwe’s movement in a new direction in the long term.